on August 2, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Treasure hunting with Shop Girls

SENECA — Rebecca Chappell, owner of the Shop Girls boutique store in downtown Seneca, loves everything vintage. She considers Shop Girls to be a treasure hunter’s dream, because every corner of the store, even the bathroom, is decorated with an array of antiques for sale.

“People love to shop in my bathroom,” laughed Chappell as she turned on the crackling sound effects in the bathroom fireplace.

Chappell opened Shop Girls in April, but has yet to put up a sign. Still, Chappell said she has sales and customers every day, partially because she opens her two storage warehouses behind her store to the public for the more adventurous antique buyers.

“I think my sign is somewhere in the back of my warehouse. But my customers like to treasure hunt in there, too, so maybe someone will find it eventually,” Chappell quipped.

From hip 1960s party dresses to beautiful furniture and iron art, Shop Girls sells a wide variety of antique and vintage items. Chappell struggled to answer the question she says she is often asked: how she finds her eclectic inventory.

“I really can’t say how it happens,” Chappell said. “I could go to the grocery store for milk and come back with a truckload of great stuff. I’m drawn to it like a magnet no matter where I am or what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Chappell settled into Seneca after the wilting post-9/11 economy and conflicts with local construction drove Chappell from her Taylors location out onto the road, where she spent years traveling the South and touring antique shows.

Chappell said that one day she realized she and her children were getting too old for the constant traveling, and she decided to once again settle down. Chappell considered renting retail space in downtown Clemson, but “didn’t feel the vibe” she was looking for.

“When I drove through downtown Seneca for the first time I thought, ‘this place just might be perfect,’” said Chappell. The city reminded her of her hometown in Tennessee, where Chappell said she doesn’t worry about locking her car doors or looking over her shoulder at night. Chappell also enjoys the camaraderie between Seneca’s local business owners. She said the downtown shops like to share decorative art and even customers.

“People have been recommended to my store from businesses in Ram Cat Alley. I love that. It’s something that would have never happened in Taylors,” said Chappell.

In the near future, Chappell said she is hoping to add an additional Shop Girls staff member and find her store sign.